Menstruate and Educate

A Peacemaking Project by Sarah B.

What is the injustice we are solving?

Period inequality for young girls from the ages of 11-16 living in rural communities in Northern Ghana not having equal access to effective period resources. This creates a barrier in being able to attend school whilst on their period missing at least five days of school every month, therefore limits their ability to receive a quality education.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of period inequality and the barriers it causes on young girls from the ages of 11-16 in rural communities in Ghana to receive a quality education
we will address The lack of access to effective period resources for young girls living in rural communities and the cultural taboos that surround the topics of periods in these communities
by creating community focused and led workshops to teach community leaders about the normality of periods and through donations and sponsorship provide reusable period pad kits that last for two years

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • To launch this project initiative with 50 girls in one Community in Ghana
  • To monitor the number of days added to a girls attendance at school whilst on her period over 3 months

We will increase my / our compassion by...

Creating an open space for community leaders and members to discuss their beliefs about menstruation and being emphatic that these beliefs come from years of tradition and not necessarily based the scientific facts

How will you show courage?

By using the knowledge and relationship I have with the community to plant the seeds of educating them about periods from a way that they can digest in small parts and be patient enough to know this adjustment in beliefs will take time.

How will you collaborate with others?

Working with community volunteers and school teachers to monitor the progress of the project and if successful implement the same structure within other nearby community schools.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

If at least an extra 2 days of school are added each month whilst on their period since having the reusable period pad kits.

Key Steps

  • Working with community volunteers to design an open space workshop to teach community and family leaders about periods, that will aim to target the cultural taboos.
  • Provide reusable period kits to 50 girls
  • Working with teachers to monitor how many extra days a girl has been able to attend school whilst on her period

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

That it is a big issue within rural communities in Ghana, however being empathetic and driven to work with the community to change the stigma of periods can diminish period poverty within these communities.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

100 less girls have to miss an average of 3-5 days of school a month due not having access to effective period resources. Community leaders and parents are more understanding about being open with their daughters about periods and challenging the taboos.

How many people were impacted by your project?

200

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

100 girls were given the reusable period pad kits. 100 parents, community leaders and teachers attended the workshops.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

That they so desperate to achieve something in their future to be able to make their community proud but had the barrier of a lack of access to effective period resources which impacted heavily on their complete monthly attendance at school, so they are excited to see a change.

What did your team learn?

That it is important for the community to be involved in projects and to give their feedback and they know best what will work for them and how to initiate it into the community.

What challenges did your team overcome?

The language barrier as they do not speak English or Twi which is one of the main spoken Ghana languages, one of my team members had to act as translator as well as helping me lead the workshop but it turned out very well.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

Involved community leaders by having their input and designing the monitoring of the project . The female teachers designing time during each term to discuss menstrual and sexual health and the Ghana district Education Service that have presented their approval to expand the project over the Northern Region of Ghana.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

Just start.. it doesn’t matter how much money you have. Start making the impact on the scale you have access to. Be open to learning along the way and know that you can do this!

Our Updates:

Delivering the first workshop

Sarah B.
1 October 2019 17:56
Today was exciting.. I led the first community workshop with teachers, community leaders and parents of the girls in the pilot. Talking to them about period taboos that exists in the community, how this impacts the education of their girls and the purpose of introducing the project. It was interactive they asked questions, gave comments and most importantly they approved the project and look forward to the impact it will have on their girls ability to receive a quality education whilst on their period.

Second Workshop

Sarah B.
2 October 2019 10:12
Today was in the second school of the project delivering the workshop to another set of parents. They were engaged and very open to speak about the periods taboos and asked questions. They mentioned that they felt this project would be a success for the girls in the community. We feel the same and hope so too!

Workshop with the Girls

Sarah B.
3 October 2019 13:00
Today was great. We had the workshop with the 100 girls from the community schools. We talked everything about periods! They had some taboos that we were able to discuss and help them understand that it is normal. We even played some questions and answers games. It was truly a great workshop.

Pad kits hand out

Sarah B.
3 October 2019 13:04
Today was the day I have been so excited about that I could not sleep! It was hand out the kits day after the workshop. The girls were excited and looked so forward to trying them and also understood how this can benefit them with their attendance to school. It was day that I wish to repeat. I will never forget how this day not only has impacted this girls lives, but has changed mine.